Kobayashi, Toyota reclaim the top spot in Shanghai Practice 3

Image by JAP/LAT

Kobayashi, Toyota reclaim the top spot in Shanghai Practice 3

Le Mans/WEC

Kobayashi, Toyota reclaim the top spot in Shanghai Practice 3


Kamui Kobayashi set the pace in the final FIA WEC practice session of the weekend at Shanghai this morning. The Japanese driver set the quickest time of the weekend so far in the No. 7 Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 HYBRID, a 1m47.183s, which was over a second quicker than the rest of the LMP1 field.

This fast time — the first in the 1:47s this weekend — came after Rebellion Racing and Team LNT set the fastest times of FP1 and FP2 respectively yesterday.

The two Team LNT Ginetta G60-LT-P1s ended up second and third in the running order, with the No. 5 leading the charge with a 1m48.193s, not quite as quick as Charlie Robertson’s FP2-topping 1m48.127s yesterday in the No. 6.

Rebellion’s R-13 Gibson slotted in fourth, ahead of the N0. 8 Toyota which ended up fifth in class but 10th overall, behind five of the eight LMP2 cars.

Once again the LMP2 cars were able to lap at almost LMP1 pace, the straight-line speed of the Gibson-powered chassis putting the Racing Team Nederland just 2.4 seconds off the lead Toyota and two tenths off the fourth place Rebellion with a 1m49.637s.

The top three in the class was completed by the two Goodyear-shod JOTA-run ORECAs, the Jackie Chan DC Racing example second with a 1m49.748s ahead of the No. 38 JOTA 07 Gibson third.

Thus far Michelin teams have run fastest in each of the three sessions.

In GTE Pro, Porsche GT Team’s No. 92 911 RSR 19 topped the times with a 1m58.786s set by Kevin Estre. The No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari finished up the morning second, eight tenths adrift in the times, but ahead of the No. 95 Aston Martin which made it three marques in the top three.

Am was led by Team Project 1, Matteo Cairoli notching a 2m00.109s in its No. 56 Porsche 911 RSR. FP3 was the first time this weekend that all six GTE Pro cars managed to finished ahead of the Am cars in the times.

An incident late in the 60-minute session meant red flags came out and cut the running short: Bruno Senna in the No. 1 Rebellion was hit in the rear by Francesco Castellacci in the No. 54 Spirit of Race Ferrari under braking for the Turn 14 hairpin. This impact (which wasn’t particularly heavy) damaged the front-right corner of the Ferrari and the left-rear corner of the R-13.

Qualifying is up next for the FIA WEC teams here in China, at 14:00 local time.